Top 5 Things To Teach Your New Puppy
You’ve just brought home your adorable bundle of fluff and you’re probably eager to start training them right away. But with so much to teach your new puppy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and you might not know where to start. In this article, I’m going to share the top 5 things that you should focus on teaching your new puppy. ‘Down’, ‘paw’ and ‘spin’ can wait - instead, I recommend you begin by focusing on teaching your puppy these 5 important life skills.
1. Toilet Training
Over the first couple of weeks, toilet training should be number one priority. I recommend taking your puppy outside every 20-30 minutes when they are awake, as well as after sleeping, eating and playing. Keep a note of the times your puppy goes to the toilet, this will help you predict when they’ll need to go. Remember your puppy doesn’t have full control yet so don’t worry if accidents happen - never tell your puppy off, just calmly clean up and move on.
2. Mouth Manners
One of the most challenging parts of having a puppy is their mouthing and play biting. Remember that this is a totally normal puppy behaviour, and it will pass. Be patient, and consistently redirect your puppy onto toys or chews when they mouth. If your puppy is super bitey, they might not be getting enough quality sleep, so ensure your puppy is getting lots of regular rest in a quiet space.
One of the most valuable skills you can teach your puppy is the art of calmness. A calm dog = a happy dog and a happy owner. What gets rewarded gets repeated, so when you notice your puppy being calm and relaxed, reward this. And whenever your puppy notices something (e.g. a dog, person, car or noise) and doesn’t react, reward this too. It’s so easy to focus on all of the ‘naughty’ things your puppy does, but remember to acknowledge all their nice calm behavior too.
"Happiness is a warm puppy"
4. How To Be Alone
Puppies don’t come hardwired to know how to be alone, and it is never too early to start teaching this important skill. There are some simple steps you can follow that will ensure your puppy is introduced to alone time in a gentle way, which will reduce the risk of Separation Anxiety developing or escalating. Start by getting your puppy used to you stepping in and out of the door for no more than a few seconds. If your puppy is relaxed, you can start to gradually build up the time you are outside for so long as your puppy is comfortable.
5. How To Wear A Collar & Harness
The best way to introduce your puppy to their collar and harness is to teach them that collar and harness time = treat time. Look out for an upcoming blog with more information on introducing your puppy to their collar and harness.
Written by Kerry Woods - Out of The Woods Dog Training
Kerry has a degree in Animal Behaviour & Welfare as well as being a certified Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer. After working with hearing dogs for deaf people for 3 years and gaining experience working with dogs from 8 weeks old right the way through to placement Kerry now works as a dog training and behaviourist consultant specialising in Separation Anxiety.Learn More